- Listen to music you love. While everyone around me was bashing boy bands, I made my own play list filled with boy band tunes I enjoyed listening to. I didn't care what my boy buds said when I played my mp3 player. This music made me feel good! Listen to music that makes you smile! Research shows people become happy and excited when they listen to tunes they really like.
- Make a list of what you DON'T like about yourself. No, this isn't for a sob-feel-sorry-for-myself fest, neither is it something you're going to burn in a strange VD's Bonnie-inspired ritual. You are going to study this list and see what you can do to change. Think you're the moodiest kid in school? Then everyday, try to make someone smile. Feeling really pathetic because you can't kick a soccer ball? Try practicing until you can make it fly! It might be a tad daunting and maybe even discouraging at first, so remember to keep your goals bite-sized and doable! Imagine how you'll feel once you've actually turned something you don't like about yourself into a personal victory? What an achievement!
- Think, "So What!" So what if your classmate Kara is prettier, sexier, a cheerleader, and a math wiz! So what if your brother is much better than you are at science! So what if you're not the best singer in the school choir! You're still really cute, you can copy Britney's moves after seeing her video once, and you have a blast singing the second voice! What's with all these comparisons? They just make us feel bad about ourselves! I think it's time to ditch them and focus on what's good about you! Besides, the people who love you don't care that Kara's so hot, your brother's so smart, and other people can sing better. They love you for who you are—imperfections and all.
- Remember that it's not always about you. When a friend snaps at you after a long, tiring day, consider that she might not be mad at you. What if she got a really bad grade in today's pop quiz? What if her mom is on her case about something or other?
Don't take everything personally. If that obsession-worthy cutie doesn't say hi to you after class today, don't jump to the conclusion that he hates you or that you must look terribly hideous. What if he was just preoccupied with something so he didn't see you? Life is about perception. If you want to think that everyone's upset with you, you can. But you can also choose another path—one that is less stressful and definitely happier.
- Shake that booty! Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) in Legally Blonde was right when she said exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good about yourself. Research backs her up and shows that your self-confidence is pumped up when you move your body around and feel healthy about yourself. You don't even have to begin a grueling weight-lifting routine. Just get physical—join a sport or take a jog around the block. You'll be smiling in no time!
- Catch your Zzzs. It's so easy to put off studying for an exam because you can always pull an all-nighter. But have you noticed how you feel the next day? Groggy, cranky, and definitely not very chipper. It might be real easy to think that you can just catch up on the sleep you missed, but according to the 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, for every hour of sleep that you skip, there is an 8% less-positive feeling about your day. Why be 92% happy when you can go for the goal and score a perfect 100?
- 7. Ditch the TV fantasy and live in the real world. How many times have we tuned into Gossip Girl and said to ourselves, "I wish my hair were as shiny and my skin as flawless as Blair Waldorf's!" "I wish my boyfriend told me things like that!" "I wish I led Serena's life instead of mine." Deadly thoughts. Television can paint such a tempting picture. Remember that before Leighton Meester goes on cam, she is primped and made over several times—not to mention touched up in between takes. If her hair is a mess, a hairstylist stressed over giving her that natural wind-blown look. TV can give you an unrealistic picture of how life is. Be it bigger, wilder, or shinier, it is not reality. Don't base your goals and aspirations on something unattainable because you'll only be setting yourself up for a big disappointment.
This is the coolest deal you're going to get in this lifetime, girl! A best bud you're crazy about—and a real happy girl, too! And the best part? Just look in the mirror. She's all you.
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